Adidas recently launched Ultra Boost X that features a unique arch design in the central part of the running shoe where the natural arch of a human foot is (Figure 1). Flexible in nature and able to conform (at least partially) to the arch of a human foot, the arch design in Ultra Boost X is another product in an emerging trend to lend greater comfort to the runner through conforming a shoe to a foot.
Another innovative feature of Ultra Boost X comes from the unique sock like upper mesh that hugs the foot tightly. However, the design does not provide adequate protection to the foot during running as the soft, flexible upper mesh lacks mechanical strength.
Figure 1: Unique arch design in the central portion of the running shoe attempts to conform the running shoe to the natural arch of the runner’s foot, but partial compression of the arch may lead to stress accumulation on the foot, and greater propensity for foot and knee injuries.
More importantly, the inability to completely tune the flexibility of the arch in Ultra Boost X to the weight of the runner meant that, at least for many runners, the arch would only be partially compressed, which would likely lead to an atypical running gait that could do serious damage to the knee.
Additionally, the two layered Boost foam that hinge the heel portion of the foot during impact on the ground, may deliver excess impact forces from the ground to the leg and knee of the runner; thereby, increasing the propensity for injuries during running.
Collectively, while the arch design in Adidas Ultra Boost X may be innovative in attempts to conform the shoe to the natural arch in a human foot, inability of most runners to completely compress the arch during running meant that the resulting atypical running gait could do serious damage to the knee.
Category: sports medicine, sports science,
Tags: arch design, running shoe, impact forces, knee injuries,